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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Murillo and the Immaculate Conception

MURILLO, Bartolomé Esteban (b. 1617, Sevilla, d. 1682, Sevilla)
Immaculate Conception 1665-70
Oil on canvas, 206 x 144 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

MURILLO, Bartolomé Esteban (b. 1617, Sevilla, d. 1682, Sevilla)
Immaculate Conception
Oil on canvas, 96 x 64 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid



MURILLO, Bartolomé Esteban (b. 1617, Sevilla, d. 1682, Sevilla)
The "Soult" Immaculate Conception c. 1678
Oil on canvas, 274 x 190 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid
His culminating version of the Virgin Immaculate, in which the last of the traditional attributes is eliminated except for the crescent moon, and the putti, some painted so thinly that they seem to dissolve into the fluffy clouds.
In 1813 in return for sparing the life of two monks condemned to death, the painting was taken to France by Marshal Soult. It was returned to the Prado in 1941.


Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was born in Seville, Spain in 1617, where he lived until his death. He was a pupil of Velasquez

Murillo founded a prestigious painting academy in 1660 which he presided over with great ability. His vast production of paintings, for the most part, are of a religious nature and theme.

Murillo's influence in Spanish painting, even more in Sevillian painting, was perpetuated until the 19th century.

Murillo is often accused of being too idealistic, too anodyne. His style, 'estilo vaporoso' (vaporous style) shows idealized figures, soft, melting forms, delicate colouring, and sweetness of expression and mood.

In religious painting, his favourite theme was the Immaculate Conception. Murillo's appealing vision of the Immaculate Conception became canonical.